Interplast Australia & New Zealand is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to repair bodies and rebuild lives across the Asia Pacific region by providing free reconstructive surgery to disadvantaged patients.
This adventure will see a team of supporters take on the Inca Trail with inspirational Interplast ambassador Turia Pitt.
Over 4 days the team will trek this legendary route in an effort to raise funds for Interplast to continue its critical work.
My name is Turia Pitt and in September 2011, 65 per cent of my body was burned as a result of a grass fire during the Kimberley Ultramarathon.
It has been a long, cruel journey to get to where I am today, but I consider myself lucky. We live in one of the best countries in the world, and our standards of medical care are extraordinarily high. It’s something we think little about and often take for granted until we really need it.
My reconstructive surgeon, Professor Peter Haertsch, has volunteered for Interplast every single year for the past two decades! To me, the Interplast volunteers are miracle workers—they donate their time and expertise to people who really need it in developing countries.
I was fortunate enough to travel with Interplast on a humanitarian mission in 2014. On this trip I met a farmer, Chezong, who had burns on the back of his legs and who had severe contractures, a tightening of the skin after third degree burns.
He couldn’t stand and he couldn’t walk—meaning he couldn’t work or provide for his family of six. After the Interplast team operated on him, his legs were straight for the first time in five years! Now Chezong is walking around and back at work.
It’s examples like these that illustrate why I’m so passionate about Interplast. The work that they do is 100 per cent life-changing.
That’s why I’m trekking the Inca Trail to raise vital funds for Interplast. All the money we raise will go towards the work of this incredible organisation, and empower people across the Asia Pacific region to rebuild their lives.
Saturday 18th July 2015
And they are off! Bon voyage to Team Interplast pictured here at Sydney airport ready for their (long) flight to Peru.
This bunch of amazing people will trek the spectacular Inca Trail to Machu Picchu—considered one of the greatest treks in the world. Over four days they’ll traverse high passes and explore mist-shrouded ruins. Descending into verdant valleys in the shadow of dramatic mountain ranges, they’ll camp under the stars and conclude at the majestic and mystical Machu Picchu.
Their efforts have already raised nearly $220,000 for Interplast to continue repairing bodies and rebuilding lives in the Pacific region.
Sunday 19th July 2015
Monday 20th July 2015
We had two huge days travelling, a cancelled flight and unexpected night in Lima, but have finally arrived safe and sound in the picturesque cobblestone city of Cusco.
We rested for a few hours before setting off to explore Saqsaywoman – an incredible ancient Inca ruin on the outskirts of Cusco. Saqsaywoman is a fine example of the detail and precision the Incas took when designing their cities. With each granite stone hand-carved to make sure every block fitted seamlessly together, and complemented the surrounding landscape by following the flow of the mountain lines.
We left Saqsaywoman and ventured to a lovely spot with an amazing view to have a picnic lunch and regain our energy as several people were starting to feel the affects of the altitude. After a delicious lunch we started our first acclimatisation walk back down to Cusco. We passed through several Quinoa fields along well used tracks before arriving back to the vibrant city centre lined with market stalls.
It’s been a great first day getting to know one another, everyone is looking forward to a good nights sleep and what lies ahead tomorrow!
Day 4: Tuesday 21st July 2015
This morning we headed to Chicuchas Wasi School for girls that provides free education to local girls that come from poverty stricken families with single parents. Love, dignity, and respect is the key philosophy in the running of this school.
Upon arrival at the school we were greeted by the students with song and dance. The girls ran to us grabbing our hands to make sure we participated in the festivities, some of the team got their salsa dancing moves out while others bopped around, there was even a few aerobics moves thrown into the mix. It was a great morning and a humbling experience that will stay with the team for the rest of their lives.
After lunch, we meet with Ruth an extraordinary lady that runs the school. She spoke to us about her hopes and dreams of creating a secondary school so the girls can further their education, explaining that it costs roughly $120,000 per year to run the school and that she relies solely on donations from people just like us, as no government funding is provided.
We finished our visit with further hugs from the girls before returning to Cusco for an afternoon briefing on preparation for tomorrow’s Inca Trek.
Day 5: Wednesday 22nd July 2015
Today is the day the team start their trek! The team transferred to Ollantaytambo, a quaint little town and had some time to explore and get some last minute supplies for the trek (motivational snacks, some market goods and the like!). Along the way we had a quick stop where we had an amazing view of Sacred Valley, it was just stunning.
They team were really excited to visit a local house and feed the guinea pigs, to the right you’ll see a photo of Turia feeding them!
We then got together for an awesome team pic before we set off on the trek! Todays trek was roughly 7km along the Urubamba River to Llactapata (at 2,788m). Our campsite is set atop a ridge between two valleys. There were some spectacular ruins to explore before we had dinner under the stars. We will sleep well tonight. Can’t wait for trek day 2 tomorrow!
The Team Leader Kristen Briggs said the Peru trek is one of the most beautiful and scenic treks she has been on (and she has been on A LOT!).
The view over sacred valley
Turia feeding the Guinea Pigs
The team at the start of their trek. Go team!!
Day 6: Thursday 23rd July 2015
After breakfast we start to trek through the Cusichaca Valley towards the small village of Huallyabamba, the last inhabited place along the trail. Next we start to climb making our way through stunning cloud forest, following a mountain stream to our campsite at Llulluchapampa (3,680m). We are treated to spectacular views of the valley and have the evening to rest and relax in preparation for tomorrow’s trek—the longest of the adventure.
Day 7: Friday 24th July 2015
It’s an early start today as we begin the steady climb to the highest point of the trail, the impressive Abra de Warmiwañusca or Dead Woman’s Pass (4,200m). At the top of the pass we feel on top of the world and are surrounded only by mountain peaks. From here, we descend into the Pacasmayo Valley, before making our way up to Runkuracay Pass (3,998m). We then continue further into the valley, following a well-preserved Inca pathway to the mysterious Sayacmarca ruins. We explored this incredible site before making our way to the Phuyupatamarca ruins (3,650m)—the “place above the clouds”—and set up camp.
Day 8: Saturday 25th July 2015
We did it! Today we finally set our eyes on the incredibly beautiful Machu Picchu.
This morning we set off early to witness the sun rise gloriously over the peak on our last day of trekking. We begin by descending an ancient Inca staircase through beautiful cloud forest to Wiñay Wayna, an atmospheric orchid-filled ruin. We then trek above the Urubamba River to Inti Punku, the Gateway of the Sun, where we had our first glimpse of Machu Picchu. We return in the morning to properly explore so this afternoon we rest in the town of Aguas Calientes.
Day 9: Sunday 26th July 2015
This morning, after breakfast, we returned to the incredible site of Machu Picchu. We had a brilliant guide who told us all about the fascinating history of the Incas on a walking tour. Some of us trekked up the higher peak of Huayna Picchu for an awe-inspiring view of Machu Picchu. In the afternoon we returned to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch, then boarded the train to Ollantaytambo! We then were transferred to Cusco.
Day 10: Monday 27th July 2015
Today we had a free day in Cusco before tomorrow’s departure. We all used the opportunity to relax at a local cafes and wander around (and catch up on social media).
Day 11-13: Tuesday 28th – Thursday 30th July 2015
We bid farewell to Cusco, the Andes and Peru and make our way home (via Cusco, Lima, Santiago, Auckland, Australia!).
We arrive home on Thursday 30th after an incredible adventure and having raised over $220,000 for Interplast. You can support us by donating here – https://turiasincatrailchallenge.gofundraise.com.au/